We’re about to have our third baby in just over 4 years, so I figured it was about time I shared my favorite baby items here on Stripes and Whimsy! In these past 4 years I’ve learned so much about what baby items work best for our family, so if you’re building a baby registry or looking for some recommendations I hope this will help you out! Most items have lasted all 4 years and we’ll be using them again this third time around, while others have been newer additions as preferences have changed or we’ve needed to replace older items. If you’ve tried any of these products or if you’re looking anything else please share in the comments!
Our Must Have Baby Items
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1. BABY MONITOR: We have yet to use the Owlet Smart Sock 2 baby monitor but I’m so glad we’ll have it this time around. I’m always incredibly anxious about SIDS and it ends up affecting my own sleep because I constantly wake up to check their breathing. I’ve heard from so many moms that this product has been the best investment they could have ever made and that it really helped put their minds at ease.
2. CARSEAT: The Mesa carseat fits seamlessly with the Vista stroller and we loved using it with Jack and Caroline. It’s on the heavier side but that doesn’t bother me. It gets fantastic safety ratings too, which is so important. These carseats are good for 7 years from the manufacturing date (as long as it hasn’t been in an accident) so we still have 2 years left on ours, which should get us though the infant days of this last baby of ours. We’ve used this carseat up until 14 or so months old before upgrading (I’m pretty sure, I can’t remember exactly). We make giant babies though so it may last your baby longer!
3. SWADDLE: We used two of the medium-sized Love to Dream swaddles with Caroline and loved them. We have one regular arm-up swaddle and one of the 50/50 ones that allows you to zip off the arms once they learn how to roll over. They’re nice and snug and soft and Caroline slept wonderfully in them. I just purchased a small one to use with this baby during the newborn phase too. (We do still have and plan to use these small swaddle sacks that we used with both kids but they’re a little tricker during nighttime diaper changes because you have to completely take them out of the sack, as opposed to the dual sided sipper on the Love to Dream swaddle. Always good to have lots of options on hand for when things get dirty!)
4. STROLLER: When I was pregnant with Jack we registered for the Uppababy Vista stroller. A few friends pooled together and bought it for us and over 4 years later we still use it pretty much every single day. We chose this stroller because we planned on having 2 or 3 children pretty close together and the stroller expands to fit your growing family. Plus it comes with a bassinet! We used it as a single when it was just Jack, then bought the two different adapter sets and the rumble seat once Caroline arrived. (The adaptors allow you to use the bassinet, car seat or rumble seat in the front and they raise the normal seat up to give them more space.) We’ve also added the piggyback board (our kids call it “the skateboard”) which attaches at the back wheels under the handle bars so that a toddler can stand and ride. It’s a pricy stroller but it’s totally worth it because you don’t have to buy new strollers when you have more kids. 100% recommend this stroller!
5. HIGH CHAIR: This attachable high chair is a recent purchase of ours. We’ve had a Chicco attachable high chair for over 2 years and have LOVED it… but it’s so disgusting at this point that we decided it was time to upgrade. (We used the wooden IKEA high chair when the kids were babies and it was fantastic and no frills, but I like that these attachable high chairs don’t take up any floor space and that the kids get to eat together.) This new Inglesina one has a tray, which is a big difference and I’m hoping it’ll keep things a bit tidier (Caroline is still such a messy eater). The fabric seat portion (lots of color options!) is also removable and can be washed in the washing machine. (Tom takes the Chicco one outside and hoses it down frequently, so the ability to wash this one in the washing machine was very appealing to me.) So long story short, if you are short on floor space or like having your child right up at the counter or table with you then an attachable high chair is a must! Great for travel too 🙂
6. BREAST PUMP: I used a Medela pump with Jack and Caroline but decided to try the Spectra S1 breast pump this time because my old pump is over 4 years old now and I know a lot has changed since then. Plus our insurance (Tricare) allows you to choose from a number of breast pumps each time you have a baby. I honestly don’t pump a whole lot because I’m almost always with the baby and nursing is just easier for me, but after being unsuccessful at getting Caroline to ever take a bottle I’m determined to pump more this time so that my leash isn’t quite so short. The Spectra S1 pump is chargeable so you can pump without it being plugged into the wall! I’ve heard that the battery lasts a really long time too, which is great. A labor and delivery nurse also told me that it’s better than hospital-grade pumps, and it’s much quieter than my old Medela pump was. Not that I’m excited to pump, but I am excited to try this new one out! (I am, however, excited to nurse again. It’s always such a special experience and I shared my breastfeeding story in this blog post if you’re interested. And here is the blog post about how I weaned Caroline at 17 months old.)
7. (PORTABLE) WHITE NOISE MACHINE: We’ve owned two of the traditional Marpac Dohm white noise machines for years (white noise helps me sleep so much better), and we purchased this portable white noise machine before Caroline was born. It is SO handy. We normally keep it plugged in in her room but it’s also great for on the go, especially with infants. I would just strap it onto the car seat or stroller when we were out and about and it’s a great way to drown out the noise and help them take a better on-the-go nap. We just ordered a second one for this new baby! Also great for travel as an adult since it’s nice and compact.
8. BABY BOUNCER: We purchased this mesh BABYBJÖRN bouncer before Caroline was born and really enjoyed using it with her. It adjusts to different inclines to fit your baby’s needs, and I really like that the mesh version is breathable and a bit easier to clean. (Here is the less expensive one that is not mesh.) We like to use the wooden googly eye toy attachment with it because it’s great at keeping the babies entertained without any real noise. It packs flat when it’s not in use too, which is a really nice perk especially if you live in a small space like we do.
9. BABY ROCKER: Our 4moms rocker was the only place (other than my arms) that Caroline was happy in the first few months of her life. She was a great nighttime sleeper (in the bassinet by our bed) but incredibly difficult during the day when she was awake. This rocker was a total lifesaver for us! (We have the cheaper rockaRoo but I think the mamaRoo would be a little better because it moves in all directions, rather than just forwards and backwards.)
10. PLUSH PLAY MAT: Some friends of ours gave us this plush elephant play mat when I was pregnant with Jack and it’s been such a great little mat for our babies to use. I’ll often put our baby gym over it, which works out nicely. (We have the wooden baby gym from IKEA.)
11. PACIFIER: Pacifiers are hit or miss and you never know which one your child will like. I’m hoping that baby #3 will take this Ryan and Rose pacifier because they get great reviews and I already ordered 2 of them. They also look pretty cute, as far as pacifiers go! Jack loved the Philips Avent pacifiers but wasn’t picky and would have taken any pacifier, Caroline would only take a WubbaNub (and it took a lot of work to get her to take one). Here is my blog post on how we broke Jack from his paci habit at 3.5 years old.
12. MUSLIN SWADDLE BLANKETS: These muslin swaddle blankets are my favorite. We’d use them for swaddling during naptime (I’d just keep one at the ready in the bassinet) but they’re also great and lightweight for nursing in public or covering up your baby in a carseat or stroller. Little Unicorn makes my favorite prints and we probably own more than we should!
13. SLEEP SACK: We like to use muslin sleep sacks for once they’re older and don’t need to tighter swaddles anymore. We used them until my kids grew out of the sizes we had, which was around 20 or so months, I think. Then we transitioned to a light muslin quilt. I like both Little Unicorn and aden + anais sleep sacks.
14. BATH SUPPORT: The Angelcare infant bath support has been a wonderful bath support during the first 6 months with both of our kids. It doesn’t take up a lot of space and it can fit in a bathtub or a large farmhouse-type sink, and can hang on a hook on the wall when not in use. It’s only $19.99 so nice and affordable too.
15. DIAPER GENIE: We’ve had the same basic white diaper genie for over 4 years and it works great. I buy the Target brand refill liners or grab them at Costco whenever I see them.
16. BABY CARRIER: Without a doubt, my favorite way to wear a baby is with a Wildbird ring sling. I rotated between 2 different ring slings with Caroline and just added 2 more to our collection. They’re that good. They’re easy to nurse in, the fastest carrier to put on, and they don’t take up much space when they aren’t in use. Can’t recommend these ring slings enough! I have 3 single layer linen slings and 1 chambray sling. Tom uses them sometimes too. Oh and I just bought Jack and Caroline each one of the mini ring slings to use with dolls or stuffed animals! They’ll receive them for Christmas. Here is my IGTV video of how I use the ring sling to carry a toddler or older baby. I’ll make a new one to show how to wear a newborn once baby V arrives! Or just check out the Wildbird website because they have lots of great video tutorials there.
17. NASAL ASPIRATOR: The NoseFrida Nasal Aspirator is the best tool ever. The traditional bulb doesn’t even compare. It grosses Tom out and he can’t even watch me use it, but it works SO well and easily helps your baby breathe better when they’re stuffy. (Don’t worry, the filters prevent anything from getting into your mouth.)
18. BANDANA BIBS: My kids were never very drooly babies but when they needed a bib we’d use these bandana bibs. They easily snap on and are nice and simple and not tacky like a lot of bibs are.
19. SILICONE BIBS: My mom bought these silicone bibs when Jack was starting to eat solid foods and they’re so great. Super easy to wipe clean and they catch a ton of food. We just recently purchased another pair of 2 because Caroline is the messiest eater ever and it was finally time to replace the old ones.
20. BABY BATH PRODUCTS: I love Beautycounter products for myself and the kids, so I’m excited to try Beautycounter’s baby products once the baby gets here! We’ve been using the Baby Daily Protective Balm (a clean replacement for Vasoline or Aquaphor) for a while now and I just recently purchased the Baby Gentle All-Over Wash and the Baby Calming Diaper Rash Cream.
21. NEWBORN LOUNGER: In the early days it’s nice to have a cozy place for baby to sit. The boppy newborn lounger is affordable and both of my kids loved it as newborns.
22. CHANGING PAD: This changing pad is no frills and lightweight. We’ve had it since Jack was born and have no complaints. It’s super easy to find covers that fit it too, so you can quickly change up the look. I always place these waterproof liners over the changing pad covers to help contain mess and prevent the covers from getting stained.
23. STRUCTURED CHILD CARRIER: If your family enjoys hiking then you need an Osprey child carrier. We actually bought ours on Facebook marketplace but I’ve linked to the current version of the pack. It’s the most comfortable way to carry a child for a long period of time and there are a number of pockets and even a zip-off backpack that allow you to easily carry anything else you may need.
24. BREAST MILK STORAGE BAGS & BOTTLE: This will be our first time to use Kiinde breast milk storage bags but they seem like a genius concept. We received these through our insurance and as long as you have the adapters you can pump directly into the bag! No bottles to clean or anything, which is going to make life so much easier. We’re also going to get the Kiinde bottle, which the Kiinde bag fits right into so you don’t have to pour the milk into the bottle before feeding your baby. I’ll be sure to update y’all once we try it out for ourselves.
25. NURSING PILLOW: The Boppy pillow is one of those products the you don’t need for a long time but it’s very handy in the early newborn days, especially as the two of you figure out breastfeeding together (if you choose to breastfeed). It’s also a cozy place for anyone to hold the baby in their lap! Additionally, you can use it later on for tummy time or as a support pillow when they’re learning to sit up too.
26. MANUAL BREAST PUMP/MILK CATCHER: I’m very excited to try this Haakaa manual pump! It suctions onto the side you’re not nursing on and it collects the milk once it lets down! (So it’ll all be fore milk which isn’t as fatty so you’ll want to mix it with milk that also contains the rich hind milk.) It’s all one simple silicone piece and it’s dishwasher safe. I’ve heard that it’s easy to knock over because the base is rather small and that the way to prevent any accidents is by keeping a coffee mug by you and once you finish just place the pump full of milk into the mug to keep it upright. It gets rave reviews and I can’t wait to give it a shot.
27. JOGGING STROLLER: We use our Uppababy Vista stroller for walks but have LOVED our BOB jogging strollers since Tom and I are both runners. We have a single and a double (purchased the double second hand on Facebook marketplace) and I don’t know what we’d do without them. They’ve probably both seen over a thousand miles. If you are a runner then this stroller is an absolute must.
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